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Guy Enrages His Parents After Telling His Wife That They Think She’s ‘Brainwashing’ Him

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Given the current political climate, parents are coming up with all kinds of explanations for why their children may have different beliefs and morals than they do, including brainwashing!

Redditor “Mock_Hawk_Bawk” shared on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit that his parents felt his wife was brainwashing him after a recently heated political debate between him and his father.

The Redditor shared a little about his relationship with his wife, as well as both of their parents.

“My wife Megan and I are both 30 and we’ve been happily married for almost a year now. I know it sounds cliché, but I genuinely feel like I’m married to my best friend. We have a great relationship.”

“Megan’s parents are pretty cool. My parents are another story. My parents and I are first generation immigrants, but I was an infant when we arrived so I have no memory of my birth country.”

“My relationship with my dad, in particular, has been deteriorating for the past 5 years or so. We have completely opposite political views, among other issues.”

The couple tried to help the situation, but the Redditor’s parents didn’t respect their boundaries.

“Megan and I have tried to set boundaries on what we will or won’t talk about with him but he ignores those boundaries.”

“As a result, I don’t enjoy talking to him at all anymore. Megan was more patient with him than I was but even she finally muted my dad on WhatsApp and they don’t really talk at all these days. She does still send my mom pictures and updates about how we’re doing.”

“My mom pressures me to talk to my dad, even though she knows that those conversations don’t end well.”

On his father’s birthday, things got heated. 

“Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, so I gave him a call. He wanted to talk about some current events even though I wanted to avoid that topic and things got heated.”

“We hung up and I thought that was the end of it. Megan wasn’t even in the same room during the call, and the entire conversation was in my parents’ native language, which she doesn’t speak.”

But there was more to come. 

“A little bit later I got a long text from my dad where he said that he thinks Megan is controlling what I say and think, and he blamed her for the dumpster fire that is our father-son relationship.”

“Essentially he thinks she’s brainwashing me.”

“He’s implied stuff like this in the past but this was the first time he explicitly spelled it all out.”

“So I told my dad to stop talking s**t about my wife.”

The Redditor shared what was said with his wife.

“I also told Megan about what my dad said. She was pretty upset. If anything, she has tried to improve my relationship with my dad and I think this was a pretty big blow to her.”

“In response, she wrote my dad a message that in my opinion was far more civil than he deserved saying that she knew what he’d said about her, and that she was heartbroken that he thought of her that way.”

“She also told him that she will no longer be in contact with him. (she asked me to read it before she sent it which is why I know what she wrote)”

His parents did not react well to him sharing the text messages with his wife. 

“Now both of my parents are blowing up my phone saying I’m an a**hole for telling Megan what my dad said about her. But I think he should have kept his opinion to himself in the first place and it’s unfair of him to expect me to keep something like this from my wife.”

“Megan, for the record, is not upset at me for telling her what my dad said. She seems sad about the situation, but she says part of her is glad that she now knows what he actually thinks of her. In her words: ‘this whole thing f**king sucks'”

“So AITA (Am I the a**hole)?”

Since sharing his story, the Redditor and his wife have learned more about the situation. 

“I’ve been talking with my parents today and it turns out that my mom was the one who wrote the whole ‘we think your wife is brainwashing you’ text but she sent it via my dad’s phone. I honestly don’t know what to do with all of this”

“The past 48 hours have been pretty exhausting. I won’t share everything that’s happened, but there have been a few developments.”

“My dad (or my mom? I don’t even know anymore) sent my wife an ‘apology’ but it turns out that apology was ‘I wanted to apologize for behavior of my son’. He also told my wife that he thinks I’m an idiot, which did not go over well with her.”

All the couple knows to do at this point is to establish even more boundaries. 

“So at this point, here’s how we plan on handling all of this.”

“My wife has muted both of my parents on her phone. She’s been on the phone with her parents and a lot of her friends over the past day and they’re being really supportive of both of us.”

“I’m taking a long break from talking to my mom and dad, and yes I’m looking into therapy to help me work through all of this.”

“No contact is definitely on the table but for now I’m just going low contact.”

“Thankfully my parents live several states away, and my wife’s parents live within two hours of my parents. So when we do eventually get to travel again my wife will simply go straight to her parents’ house instead of spending any time with mine, and I’ll limit my time with my parents to just one day and then go join my wife.”

Redditors anonymously wrote in on the OP’s (Original Poster’s) situation, using the following scale: 

  • NTA: “Not the A**hole”
  • YTA: “You’re the A**hole”
  • ESH: “Everybody Sucks Here”
  • NAH: “No A**holes Here”

Many pointed out the parents were completely in the wrong to expect the OP to not talk to his wife about this. 

“NTA. My husband’s parents are a nightmare, and for years he didn’t tell me the horrible things they would say about me behind my back. When I finally found out, I was incredibly hurt that he kept it from me. Honestly, our marriage almost didn’t survive. You did the right thing.”Puppyjito

“NTA-Your wife is your family and your priority. You were right to tell her.”RagaMuffinSun

“NTA your parents are angry you told her because they are still operating under the fantasy that they and you are the primary inner circle and are chafing against the reality that your immediate family is now your wife.”

“They are wrong and I bet it’s easier for them to just blame the ‘outsider’ than face that their child has become an adult who might not like every part of them and has his own thoughts.”Nyankh

“The only way you could be TA here is if you had reason to believe your wife wouldn’t want to know and told her anyway. But your wife was glad you told her, even if the comments themselves hurt.”

“It’s totally unreasonable for your dad to think he can trash talk your spouse and expect it to remain confidential. If he doesn’t want his DIL to know he thinks that about her, then he should’ve kept his thoughts to himself. But then that seems to be something he has a problem doing in general and he seems to not understand that the things we say have consequences. NTA.”CanIBeWillyWonka

Some agreed and also said the parents are toxic and deserve no contact. 

“NTA, staying connected with your family purely because you are biologically related is overrated. If they’re pains in the a**es + bring more grief than anything else, you shouldn’t feel obligated to maintain a relationship with them except to maybe reach out on holidays.”

“At this point are they really saying those hurtful things out of love, or is it to just minipulate you into being on their side? Best of luck”saltwater_rat

“‘I honestly don’t know what to do with all of this.’ I think you do. Your parents (both of them) are toxic. Keep them and suffer, or cut them loose and live the life you and your wife deserve.”KrAzyDrummer

Some came to the thread simply to compliment the OP on the quality of his marriage. 

“NTA. You and your wife are a unified team. Your parents are p**sed that you’re actually behaving as one. Trying to drive a wedge between you two was a huge mistake they might never recognize.”

“It’s not glib to say that it’s their loss, because it genuinely is. It would be nice if they pulled their heads out of their a**es, but don’t hold your breath. Stay the course, be firm, as kind as you can muster, and love one another.”eatencrow

“NTA. This is a sad situation. But I’d like to applaud you for defending your wife and staying honest with her. You sound like you have a great relationship with your wife.”judge1492

Whatever the parents’ intentions, it’s surprising they thought the OP would not share something of such importance with his wife.

Hopefully the OP and his wife will be able to establish greater boundaries with the OP’s parents, or find peace in going no contact.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.